Block that metaphor! Handcuff that surgeon! From a recent release by Main Line Productions on North Halsted: “Our purpose is to throw off the staggering shackles of the American Dream and see what monsters they have birthed. Punk Expressionism is our key to the sub-conscious. . . . We use Punk as our tool in the way a surgeon would wield a chain-saw.”

Keeping Martinsville green. The Central Midwest Compact Commission (which is in charge of setting up a “disposal” site for “low-level” radioactive waste produced in Illinois and Kentucky) announces that it has voted unanimously to give the downstate town of Martinsville (pop. 1,374) $100,000. What for? Listen carefully, now: “to independently review the process of characterizing an alternative site near Martinsville for the low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. . . . [and] to mitigate any adverse effects on the city, its residents, and the residents of the surrounding area that may arise during the process of characterizing that site.” That comes: to $72.78 per Martinsville man, woman, and child. Since virtually every other Illinois locality has declined to be considered, can we expect these good people to hold out for more when it comes time to stop characterizing and start building?

Apartment buildings an tree-lined streets in big cities could face damage if the drought persists, says University of Illinois civil engineer Gholamreza Mesri. Trees pull what moisture there is out of the soil, and “as the soil shrinks, the buildings settle, but they don’t settle evenly, so they crack.”

Inventions we doubt needed to be invented: the new VCR accessory that allows you to watch two TV channels at once, or to scan all the others while watching one.

“In Chicago at least, them are jobs within reasonable commuting distance of the ghettos (especially in the Loop and at O’Hare Airport),” writes Nicholas Lemann in the Washington Monthly (June 1988). And they aren’t just in fast food. “Over the past nine months, Jobs for Youth has placed only 30 kids in fast-food jobs [out of a total of about 1,000]–the bigger categories are messengers in law firms and brokerage houses, baggage handlers at the airport, and clerks in banks, and all of these start at above the minimum wage.”

“Bambi Murders Trilliums” is the headline Natural Area Notes (June 1988) chose to head a brief story about how deer in metro Chicago are devastating many rare plants and flowers. Apparently road kills don’t keep the deer population down as well as hunters and wolves do.

What can you say to someone who has cancer? “Don’t start a conversation by asking, ‘How are you?'” recommends Greg Gourley in the Homewood-based Y-Me Hotline newsletter (Summer 1988). “Your question takes control of the conversation away from the patient .. . . In order to please you, they may say they are feeling fine when they are not. A more sensitive approach to use in opening a conversation is to say, ‘Hi, it’s good to see you.’ This statement does not demand an answer and leaves the patient in control. If she wants to answer she will. In most cases she will say, ‘It’s good to see you, too.'”

Much less than an ounce of prevention. According to the Citizens for a Better Environment Environmental Review (Spring 1988), government at all levels spent $15.7 billion on pollution control in a recent year. The amount spent on waste reduction (pollution preuention)? $.004 billion.

Knowledge is power, 1988 style, “Kids tell parents that a crack pipe they have in the house is for a chemistry project,” a drug expert who does research on the street told the spring session of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “and the parents believe them. Most doctors have never been in a ‘shooting gallery’ (often an abandoned building where addicts ‘shoot up’). They don’t know what most of the drugs look like.”

It doesn’t matter if you missed the first one. The Chicago Public School Alumni Association is sponsoring a “Very Senior Prom” at the South Shore Country Club Sunday. “School pennants, pompoms and yearbooks will be on display”–and maybe some very senior alumni?

This week’s skirmish in the battle of the sexes comes in an aside by Loyola psychologist Fred Bryant in a release promoting the value of remembrance to well-being. “Women are better at reminiscence,” he says, “because they have a more active mental life.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.